Against the background of the intensification of hostilities last weekend, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting today. Switzerland stressed that calling on all parties to protect the civilian population is and must remain a central task of the UN Security Council. Civilians must be protected in Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Switzerland strongly condemns the acts of terrorism and the taking of hostages by Hamas, demands the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and expresses its solidarity with the Israeli population. Three weeks after the start of hostilities, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic. The population lacks basic necessities such as water and electricity. Against this background, Switzerland calls on all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and to allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza.

International humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, is universal. It provides the legal framework for the protection of civilians in conflict. Switzerland recognizes Israel's legitimate desire for national defense and security. It recalls that international humanitarian law takes into account legitimate needs such as security and military necessity and must therefore be respected without exception. Violations of international humanitarian law and human rights must be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable.

In the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, Switzerland has in recent weeks called for measures such as humanitarian pauses or a humanitarian ceasefire. It once again called on the Security Council to work together to end the violence. Four resolutions on the Middle East have failed in the Council in the last two weeks. Switzerland will continue to work actively for joint action by the Security Council and for a peaceful solution.

Statement by Switzerland on the situation in the Middle East, UN Security Council, 30.10.2023

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